TDP ministers quit Union cabinet

Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu over telephone and reportedly urged him to reconsider pulling out of the NDA government, two TDP ministers Ashok Gajapati Raju (civil aviation) and YS Chowdary (MoS science and technology) resigned from the Union cabinet on Thursday.

However, the two former ministers, who handed over their papers to Modi, said that TDP will continue to be a part of NDA. Their resignations came a day after TDP supremo Naidu announced that the party’s ministers will quit the central government in protest against its refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Chowdary explained that the issue of special category status was very emotive for the state, and the special package announced by Arun Jaitley was not enough. “But it would be unfair to say that the Centre did nothing for the state,” he said.

Asked about the Prime Minister’s response, he quoted him as saying it was unfortunate. “I am with the state of Andhra Pradesh and for the people of Andhra Pradesh,” Modi is learnt to have said.

The withdrawal of TDP ministers from the Union cabinet is not a worry for the BJP as the party as enjoys majority on its own in the Lok Sabha. But a few Congress leaders did relish the fact the TDP is the third party to have fallen out with the BJP leadership. The other two being Shiv Sena and Jitan Ram Majhi’s party in Bihar.

Political eyebrows, however, were raised over the manner TDP central ministers delayed handing over their resignation papers and waited for the PM to return from Rajasthan. In contrast, two BJP ministers in the Andhra government submitted their resignations to Naidu in the morning.

Sources said the TDP did not want to leave the comfort of sharing power at the Centre. 

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